Your Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-0!
The Cowboys are a mess.
Miami shoots up the Rankings.
These are some of the highlights of a crazy NFL Week 1 that are reflected in my Week 2 Power Rankings. In my Preseason Rankings, I mentioned that teams 8-22 were so close together that anything could happen. We see our first examples of this, with Miami taking a HUGE leap (10 slots) and Dallas dropping from 8 all the way to 21.
This week, I’m taking a look at one thing that flashed from each Franchise in Week 1. I’ll take a deeper look at the Steelers each week than the other squads, focusing on what I saw from the team and what it means going forward.
Ranking the Steelers was such a tough exercise this week with the unfortunate news we’re all aware of following the nerve-wracking performance in Cincinnati that resulted somehow in a win. I get into all that and more below.
1. BUFFALO BILLS
What flashed: The pass rush looks like a new monster with Vonn Miller leading the charge to the tune of 3 sacks in his inaugural Bills appearance.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
What flashed: Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are unstoppable no matter who else is on the field with them on offense.
3. LAS ANGELES CHARGERS
What flashed: The Khalil Mack pick-up paid off early dividends as the former All-Pro led a vicious LAC pass rush that squelched the Raiders early.
4. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
What flashed: It wasn’t pretty for the Bucs against a beat up Cowboys team, but Julio Jones looked rejuvenated in his Tampa Bay debut with Brady at the helm.
5. LAS ANGELES RAMS
What flashed: Cooper Kupp is the Rams offense, but he’s gonna need some help from someone to keep this team from being too one-dimensional.
6. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
What flashed: Jalen Hurts to AJ Brown is going to be hard to stop for opposing defenses.
7. GREEN BAY PACKERS
What flashed: The Packers RB duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon averaged a combined 7.2 yds per carry, but were limited in a game script that saw the Packers forced to throw to keep up.
8. BALTIMORE RAVENS
What flashed: Although a presumed weak spot on the roster heading into the season, Wide Receivers caught all 3 of Lamar Jackson’s TD passes.
9. CINCINATTI BENGALS
What flashed: The Bengals held a talented group of Steelers pass catchers to less than 200 total yds through 4 quarters and a full overtime period.
10. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
What flashed: Justin Jefferson might be the league’s best WR, racking up 184 yds on only 9 catches for 2 TDs and 20.4 yds/rec.
11. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Previous: 21 *RISER OF THE WEEK
What flashed: Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Literally. Those boys are fast.
12. DENVER BRONCOS
What flashed: Jerry Jeudy looked explosive hauling in a big-time 67-yard TD where he caught a pretty ball in stride and did the rest with his legs.
13. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
What flashed: Derek Carr to Devonte Adams got rolling quick, with Carr targeting the former Packer a whopping 17 times.
14. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
What flashed: Michael Pittman is a star in the making, hauling in a 9/121/1 receiving line on 13 targets.
15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
If T.J. Watt isn’t injured in this game, the Steelers likely climb to 12 in my rankings after the win. But instead, it’s a bit of a fall because Watt is just that impactful for this team. The good news is, their next 3 games are all winnable even without the 2021 DPOY, and it’s looking like Watt could be back, even before the bye week (9). If he misses a bunch more time than that, though, the season looks pretty bleak. The pass rush disappeared when Watt did, and Teryl Austin will need to find ways to manufacture pressure without the star OLB on the field.
This team will go as far as the Defense can take it. As if there wasn’t enough already, Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick will have added pressure on their shoulders to carry an offense that may take a while to find it’s feet.
That’s not to say there wasn’t good for Pittsburgh in this game. Alex Highsmith looked dominant in the first half, and the secondary was extremely opportunistic, with Fitzpatrick, Cam Sutton, and Akhello Witherspoon reeling in 3 of the team’s 4 INTs. Trubisky made the plays needed at the end of the game and didn’t make the backbreaking mistake. Pat Freiermuth had 5 catches for 75 yards and looks like he will be a season-long impact player at TE.
What’s Next? The Steelers host the New England Patriots and their similarly struggling offense. Even without Watt, the Steelers have a good chance to go 2-0 in front of a hyper Heinz... I mean, Acrisure Stadium crowd on Sunday at 1pm.
16. CLEVELAND BROWNS
What flashed: Rookie kicker Cade York endeared himself to all of Cleveland with his walk-off 58-yarder that likely would’ve been good from 70. As an aside, the AFC North might well be on it’s way to sweeping the Kicker Awards Podium with Tucker, Boswell, McPherson, and York.
17. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
What flashed: Jarvis Landry was an unsung addition in Free Agency for ‘Nola, but had easily the best game for the Saints on offense, helping his team make the biggest comeback of the weekend.
18. TENNESSEE TITANS
What flashed: Derrick Henry handled his large workload well, despite not breaking off a true Henry-esque stat line, but health doesn’t appear to be an issue for the big back.
19. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
What flashed: Trey Lance is already special with his legs, but he’ll need to improve in his ability to read the field as a passer to really become a starting caliber QB in the NFL.
20. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
What flashed: The Defense gave up a couple big plays, but otherwise played sound football, limiting the explosive Dolphins to just one Offensive TD on the day.
21. DALLAS COWBOYS
Previous: 8 *FALLER OF THE WEEK
What flashed: Micah Parsons is an absolute animal for the ‘Boys, sacking Tom Brady twice and impacting the game from multiple different positions on the defense.
22. NEW YORK GIANTS
What flashed: BARKLEY IS BACK!! Saquon rushed for 164 yds and a TD and looked explosive again finally after 2 injury-plagued years.
23. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
What flashed: Carson Wentz looked really good against his former Coach’s Jaguars, spreading the ball around to a bevy of playmakers to the tune of 313 passing yards and 4 TDs.
24. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
What flashed: Geno Smith went blow for blow with Russell Wilson in the latter’s return to Seattle, playing mistake-free ball and allowing his playmakers to make plays.
25. ARIZONA CARDINALS
What flashed: Kyler Murray is having to do it all for the Cards, and despite his obvious talent as a scrambler and passer, he needs some help from someone for this offense to be a true force.
26. CAROLINA PANTHERS
What flashed: Robby Anderson was the Panthers’ best offensive player in week one, putting up an impressive 5/102/1 stat line against a good Browns secondary.
27. DETROIT LIONS
What flashed: DeAndre Swift ran like a man possessed against a strong Philly front 7 with 144 yards rushing on only 15 carries. That’s a 9.6 yard average.
28. CHICAGO BEARS
What flashed: Justin Fields made strides on a day where his team was a heavy underdog. His 51 yd TD strike to Donte Pettis was a thing of beauty.
29. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
What flashed: Trevor Lawrence had a killer INT late in this game, but the team’s offensive playmakers looked pretty impressive despite the losing effort against Washington.
30. ATLANTA FALCONS
What flashed: It was the biggest heartbreak loss of Week 1, but the Falcons showed they can be competitive with Marcus Mariota playing clean football and Cordarelle Patterson continuing his explosive ways.
31. HOUSTON TEXANS
What flashed: A poor running game didn’t help, but Davis Mills continues to make a play here and there that makes you think he can be a starter in this league for a while.
32. NEW YORK JETS
What flashed: Despite the lopsided score, the Jets’ Defense was active against the Ravens, holding Baltimore’s usually potent rushing attack to a mere 63 yards and a 3.0 average.
Who’s too high? Too low? What did I get right? Let me know about it in the comments section and don't forget to vote in the poll below.
Where should the Steelers be ranked after their Week 1 performance?
This poll is closed
15 is about right